Gujarat ‘snoopgate’ probe panel gets third extension

Gujarat government today gave another extension, this time for four months, to the Sugnya Bhatt Commission probing the alleged snooping on a woman architect by police in 2009.

The two-member judicial panel, headed by Justice (retd) Sugnya Bhatt, has been given its third extension since being set up by the then Narendra Modi government in November 2013, days after “snoopgate” came to light.

“We have given an extension of four months, that is up to October 31, to the Bhatt Commission,” said V P Patel, Secretary, Law Department.

Former Additional Chief Secretary K C Kapoor is the other member the Inquiry Commission, which was supposed to submit its report within three months.

The panel was formed to probe the illegal surveillance mounted on the woman by the police allegedly at the behest of then Minister of State for Home Amit Shah in 2009.

The scandal came to light when two portals, Cobrapost and Gulail, released the tapes of purported conversation between IAS officer G L Singhal and Shah. The tapes alleged Shah, at the behest of his ‘saheb’ (not identified), asked the police officer to snoop on the young woman.

When the panel’s term ended in February it was given a three-month extension (till May 31) to submit findings. Later, the state government gave a second extension of one month up to June 30.

The Congress-led UPA government, too, had announced a probe into the “snoopgate” affair, but did not name a judge to head the inquiry.